As with many places along Zanzibar's coastline, diving is a popular activity here, but Matemwe has a special card to play: it's within easy reach of Mnemba Island and the surrounding conservation area, which is one of the most popular dive and snorkelling sites in the whole archipelago.

Diving at Mnemba

Mnemba Island (also called Mnemba Atoll) is one of the best-known and most popular dive sites in Zanzibar, and on the whole coast of East Africa. Here you can see a wonderful variety of marine life, including tuna, barracuda, moray eels, reef sharks, turtles, dolphins, and shoals of batfish, trigger fish and humpback snappers. During the migration season, it's even possible to spot humpback whales.

While the island itself is privately owned, with access restricted to guests of Mnemba Lodge, the surrounding coral reef can be visited by anyone.

As Mnemba is so popular (it's been dubbed the 'Ngorongoro of Zanzibar'), in some areas the sheer number of boats and divers is causing damage to the reef. Experienced dive companies will be delighted to take you to quieter, less crowded sites.